Tag Archives: elections

Justin Trudeau’s speech to his kids

Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau greets his sons Justin (L), Sacha (R) and Michel after returning home from a foreign trip in Ottawa, in a 1983 file photo. Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is moving back to the house where he grew up. The Liberal leader, son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, led his party to victory in a federal election on Monday, defeating Stephen Harper's Conservatives by a wide margin. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Canada’s Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau greets his sons Justin (L), Sacha (R) and Michel after returning home from a foreign trip in Ottawa, in a 1983 file photo. Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is moving back to the house where he grew up. The Liberal leader, son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, led his party to victory in a federal election Oct. 19, defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives by a wide margin. REUTERS/Andy Clark 

PENNEY KOME: OVER EASY
October, 2015

“Dear kids, we are starting on a new adventure together,” newly-elected Justin Trudeau said from the giant overhead TV screen. I was standing in Liberal candidate Matt Grant’s post-election party when Trudeau’s acceptance speech appeared on overhead TVs in the Red and White Club in Calgary, Alberta’s, McMahon Stadium. I’d been a poll-watcher, overseeing the ballot count, and I was dropping off the poll sheets. And there was Justin Trudeau, taking up national air time by talking to his kids.

Justin Trudeau is embraced by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Justin Trudeau is embraced by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Of course, every candidate starts by thanking family and friends. Trudeau started by talking about positive politics and Wilfrid Laurier’s promise that “sunny ways” win more voters than fearmongering. I was pleased that he thanked his wife, television host Sophie Gregoire, by her full name, and gave her a separate turn in the spotlight. He paused when the crowd picked up her name and chanted, “So-phie! So-phie!” Then he went on to talk to his kids and I thought, by golly, George Lakoff was right!

In 2002, linguist George Lakoff divided conservatives from liberals by their parenting models. The author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant” explained Republican successes by the metaphors the GOP developed to mobilize conservative voters.

Chief among these were the “strict father” hooks Republicans used to practice us-and-them politics. “The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong,” usually by applying painful discipline, a 2003 Berkeley student magazine quotes Lakoff.

By contrast, Lakoff said that “the progressive worldview is modeled on a nurturant parent family. Briefly, it assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible ….”

Conservatives were winning, said Lakoff in 2003, but only because they’d spent 30 years perfecting their marketing techniques, code words and dogwhistles. Also, of course, much of the Conservative base comes from Christian congregations where pastors re-inforce political messages. Liberals had been stuck herding cats while they scrambled to develop language that motivated a much wider group. In 2008 and again 20012, Barack Obama used nurturing parent metaphors (and a beautiful family) to bring new voters into the electoral fold.

Now here was a victorious Justin Trudeau glorying in the nurturing parent metaphor. His beautiful young family is part of his identity and will be part of his public life too. This is a dad who hugs his kids, not one who offers handshakes, who declares that “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life isn’t a naive dream. It can be a powerful force for change.” Sunny ways, my friends. Canada has gone from a Prime Minister who evoked fear and loathing, to one to one who isn’t afraid to appear vulnerable and caring.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother Margaret Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien (foreground) and Xavier (R) as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother Margaret Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien (foreground) and Xavier (R) as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Copyright Penney Kome 2015

Penney KomePenney Kome is co-editor of Peace: A Dream Unfolding (Sierra Club Books 1986), with a foreward by the Nobel-winning presidents of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.

Read her bio on Facts and Opinions here.

Contact:  komeca AT yahoo.com

 


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References:

“Don’t Think of an Elephant, George Layoff:  http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

Berkeley student magazine: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

Related stories on F&O:

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Voting and Canadian values

By David Suzuki
October, 2015

When my grandparents arrived from Japan in the early 1900s, Canada was far less tolerant than it is today. Women and minorities couldn’t vote, nor could Indigenous people who had lived here from time immemorial. In 1942, the government took away my Canadian-born family’s property and rights and sent us to an internment camp in the B.C. Interior simply because of our ancestry.

David Suzuki

Photo by Kent Kallberg, Creative Commons via Suzuki Foundation
http://davidsuzuki.org.

Canada has come a long way in my lifetime. Women can vote, as can Asians, other minorities and Indigenous people. Homosexuality is no longer a crime punishable by imprisonment, as it was until 1969. We’ve learned to take better care of each other through rational social programs like universal health care, welfare and unemployment insurance, and a culture of tolerance for the many people from diverse backgrounds who contribute so much to our peace and prosperity — many of whom came here as refugees or immigrants seeking better lives.

Because of my family background and all I’ve witnessed, I take democracy and voting seriously. That’s why I’m dismayed to see the current federal election descend into a divisive discourse that reminds me of all we’ve worked to overcome.

Canada is the envy of the world, thanks to our diverse population and the politicians from all parties who have steered us on a course of increasing tolerance and acceptance. Despite our differences, we’ve built a country that has avoided much of the insanity afflicting our neighbours to the south, such as mass shootings, rampant racism and politicians who reject science and, apparently, rational thought.

Canada isn’t perfect, but if we want to continue down a progressive path we must talk about the real challenges facing our country, including maintaining and strengthening our respect for diversity. This election should also be about our response to the greatest threat humanity faces, climate change, and the many ways we can confront it by moving to a clean-energy future that will benefit our health, well-being and economy.

We should be talking about the challenges faced by First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, many of whom don’t have access to clean drinking water and who are still overcoming the effects of the systemic racism perpetrated in residential schools. We should be talking about ethics, the Senate, corruption and the ways in which our political leaders communicate — or not — to us. We should be talking about trade deals, endangered species, protecting water resources, our responsibilities to the rest of the world and so much more.

Instead, this election has bogged down into “dead cat” distractions like niqabs, an issue that affects almost no one! Many people see the niqab as a symbol of women’s oppression, but this isn’t about protecting women’s rights. Whether or not we agree with the custom of wearing niqabs — or burkas or turbans or beards, or the Christian fundamentalist belief that women should submit to their husbands — our Constitution guarantees the right of people to practise their religions as long as doing so doesn’t impinge on the rights of others. Our courts have repeatedly reaffirmed these rights. Very few women have even asked to wear veils at the citizenship ceremony, and those who do must remove the face covering for identification beforehand.

For any party to stoop to or fall for this deflection is deplorable and un-Canadian. For voters to allow this small-minded bigotry to distract them from issues that really matter is a step backwards. History has shown where scapegoating minorities can lead.

Fortunately, most Canadians share the values of tolerance and acceptance. And most want a government that leads on issues that matter. A recent poll by the Environics Institute for Survey Research and the David Suzuki Foundation found a strong majority of Canadians want the government to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and confront climate change. It also showed Canadians have confidence in the renewable energy sector and support carbon pricing through carbon taxes or cap-and-trade.

In the final days of this long election, we must demand more from those who hope to govern us. We need to ensure that this election is decided on real issues that affect all Canadians, and not on pointless distractions. Most importantly, we all need to get out and vote! It’s about the future of our country.

Copyright David Suzuki 2015

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Click here for more works in F&O’s Focus on Canadian politics

References and further reading:

  • Women can vote: http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/en/browseSubjects/votingRights.asp
  • Homosexuality is no longer a crime: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/timeline-same-sex-rights-in-canada-1.1147516
  • Insanity that has afflicted our neighbours to the south: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/opinion/crazy-talk-at-the-republican-debate.html?_r=0
  • Climate change: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/climate-change-101-1/
  • Clean energy future: http://davidsuzuki.org/publications/finding-solutions/2015/spring/the-time-to-invest-in-clear-energy-is-now/
  • Don’t have access to clean drinking water: http://davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2014/11/clean-drinking-water-should-be-a-human-right-in-canada/
  • Dead cat: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/who-is-lynton-crosby-the-evil-genius-behind-harpers-campaign/article26331033/
  • Courts have repeatedly reaffirmed these rights: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/zunera-ishaq-cleared-by-court-to-take-citizenship-oath-wearing-niqab-1.3257762
  • Recent poll by the Environics Institute for Survey Research and the David Suzuki Foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2015/09/national-survey-reveals-growing-majority-support-for-government-action-on-climat/

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Marg!, Princess Warrior joins the fray

Newfoundland writer, actress and comedian, Mary Walsh, finally chimed in on the Canadian election with her character, Marg! Princess Warrior, this week with her Marg Brings Change campaign. Made famous on This Hour has 22 Minutes, Marg has been smiting politicians with her foam sword for many years and her love for Stephen Harper is legendary.

“Don’t waste time turning in your neighbours on the barbaric Harper hotline; send some real ‘cents’ to Ottawa instead,” advises Princess Warrior Marg Delahunty.

“Prime Minister Harper didn’t want to save Syrian refugees, our right to privacy or democracy, but he did want to save the penny. Unfortunately, like the cent, Harper will take a while to get out of our system so let’s send a load of cents to Ottawa now — and on October 19.”

Joining the ever-increasing crowd of prominent Canadian musicians, writers, artists, scientists, social activists, unions, environmentalists and the millions of Canadians who want change this election, Marg urges Canadians to help her bring change to Harper.

“I’ll give Mr. Harper our two cents,” Marg promises Canadians. In a campaign launched today entitled, Marg Brings Change, the Princess Warrior has created a video calling for Canadians to click on the virtual cent on her website www.margbringschange.ca ; she vows to match every click and every share with a real cent. Later this month Marg will personally deliver everybody’s two cents to Mr. Harper.**

“And vote!” the Princess Warrior commands. “Vote anything but Conservative! Don’t make me come back and smite you!”

**All money will go to aiding Syrian refugees in Canada.

Watch the Video, Click the cent, Share widely and Help Marg bring your two cents to Ottawa!

Visit www.margbringschange.ca

or the Facebook page: Marg Brings Change
https://www.facebook.com/Marg-Brings-Change-1474903259506286/timeline/

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Today’s election could change Greece — and Europe

Some 100,000 anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament in 2011. Photo by Kotsolis via Wikipedia, Creatiive Commons

Some 100,000 anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament in 2011. Photo by Kotsolis via Wikipedia, Creatiive Commons

For years the world has watched Greece, the cradle of democracy, implode in protests and economic decline. Indebted Greece has long been ill-served by its political and business leaders, and lately beholden to creditors bent on austerity. And today when the Greek people go to the polls in a general election —  if most pundits are right — not only Greece will change, but the ripples will be felt throughout Europe and globally.

Excerpt of an analysis by academic Theo Papadopoulos:

Syriza is poised to win by a large margin and this victory will end four decades of two-party rule in Greece.

Since 2010 – and as a result of austerity measures – the country has seen its GDP shrink by nearly a quarter, its unemployment reach a third of the labour force and nearly half of its population fall below the poverty line.

With the slogan “hope is coming” Syriza, a party that prior to 2012 polled around 4.5% of the vote, seems to have achieved the impossible: creating a broad coalition that, at least rhetorically, rejects the TINA argument (There Is No Alternative) that previous Greek administrations have accepted. In its place, Syriza advocates a post-austerity vision, both for Greece and Europe, with re-structuring of sovereign debt at its centre.

How significant is this victory for Europe and the rest of the world? Comments range from grave concerns about the impact on the euro and the global economy to jubilant support for the renewal of the European left. For sure, Syriza is at the centre of political attention in Europe.  Click here to continue reading  Why the Greek election matters.

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